Olya Ivanova photographs her protagonists as if they would be her friends. The setting is rural; her images have the look and feel of an east European Country.
They remind me of happy childhood days during my summer vacations in Hungary. Though I was born in Germany the Hungarian origin of my parents seem to affect my outlook on the world, ever since I can remember, I was drawn to people coming from Eastern Europe, and I am drawn to photographs depicting the East.
Most of Olya Ivanova commercial work lacks the artificiality and exaltedness that seems to be inherent to commercial photography. Friendly quiet pictures full of respect.
Her series about Vegans is a good example for that. Looking at this series it remains completely irrelevant to me that the people she photographed are Vegans. They are simply humans depicted by a photographer who seem to sympathize with her protagonists.
A similar thing happens looking at the photographs Olya Ivanova has made in Gorelovka.
Gorelovka is small village in the middle of taiga in 800 km from Novosibirsk. This place is hard to find even in the Google Map. That’s why it is the best place to escape and hide. Many years ago Christian Old Believers came here to avoid church reform. Then ‘kulaks’ (wealthy peasant) chose this place to escape from Soviet rule. Now many ‘new world antagonists’ came here to live without passports, internet, personal numbers and government.
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I don´t think, that the information given here has any relevancy when looking at the photographs of Olya Ivanova.
Just extraordinary images about ordinary people, that is what we get to see.
I wish Olya Ivanova would stop looking for the extceptional when choosing her topics. She has an eye for everyday people, for me, and you, for us.